Stocks fell Friday and retreated from record highs as a spike in coronavirus infections and the possibility of stricter lockdowns dampened expectations of more economic support from the Biden administration.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq set record closing highs Thursday amid optimism over additional stimulus and solid corporate earnings.
But Wall Street turned cautious Friday with investors realizing it may take longer to get back to business as usual as infection numbers across the globe flare.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 184 points, or 0.59%, to 30,991 on Friday, the S&P 500 fell 0.29% and the Nasdaq declined 0.05%.
Shares of Intel (INTC) – Get Report were falling after the chipmaker posted fourth-quarter earnings and an outlook higher than Wall Street estimates but said it plans to manufacture most chips internally by 2023.
Many investors, including activist Dan Loeb, have suggested that Intel consider spinning off its manufacturing business.
International Business Machines (IBM) – Get Report was falling sharply Friday after the computer giant’s earnings beat Wall Street estimates but revenue came up short.
Revenue at IBM fell for a fourth straight quarter and sales for the year declined 4.6%.
President Joe Biden, who has been pushing a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package that includes direct stimulus payments to Americans, enhanced jobless benefits and funds for vaccine deployment, unveiled a national strategy to tackle the virus.
Biden’s plan starts with a national vaccination campaign to meet the new administration’s goal of immunizing 100 million people during the president’s first 100 days in office.
He also signed executive orders that call for masks to be worn in airports, trains, planes, ships and intercity buses. The president predicted that the national death toll from Covid-19 would top 500,000 next month.
“Our national strategy is comprehensive, it’s based on science, not politics. It’s based on truth, not denial, and it’s detailed,” Biden said Thursday at the White House.
Stocks in Europe tumbled Friday after leaders there warned that new strains of the virus could lead to longer and stricter lockdowns and manufacturing activity slowed.